Much like John “Hannibal” Smith, I do love it when a plan comes together. It’s another way of saying I love it when, in a story, a number of seemingly unrelated plot lines come together, and the antagonist’s brilliant scheme is finally revealed. Say what you will about the Star Wars prequel trilogy, but Emperor Palpatine is an absolute genius! He so expertly manipulated the Senate to position himself to be elected Supreme Chancellor to rule the Republic, and later persuaded the republic to give him the army he used to crush the Jedi and take absolute control to form the Galactic Empire. There’s more to it, of course, which makes it even more brilliant.
In a story, if a grand scheme – a plan – is implied as an overall story arc, there better be a satisfying payoff at the end, in my opinion. I cite Revenge of the Sith, again. The last 45 minutes or so, from when Anakin turns to the darkside on to the end. That is the type of payoff I’m talking about. I feel like the payoff is vitally important when you include something like: “…and they have a plan” in the opening credits of every episode of your epic TV show.
Such is the case with the 2004 reboot of Battlestar Galactica. I hate reboots, but I loved that one. It was one of the few shows I would go out of my way to watch when it aired. I loved the characters. I loved the hell those characters went through, although in the last season, Adama had his breakdown moments every other week and that got kind of repetitive. It took a while for me to process and adjust to the re-imagination of things in the mini-series. It took a while to adjust to Starbuck and Boomer being women. However, the other things done with characters, such as the rift in the relationship between Apollo and Adama and the way the revealed Zack had died, Colonel Tigh’s alcoholism. I liked that the world they created was relate-able to the audience.
The first episode of the ongoing series titled, “33”, immediately gave you the sense that these people were going to be in for some serious hell. How do people deal with an enemy that attacks EVERY thirty-three minutes? They fight long enough to cover the fleet’s escape. They hope…no…they pray the Cylon’s won’t find them again. At the 33 minute mark, the Cylon’s appear and attack again. Now imagine that going on 24×7. Brutal.
Now take all of that plot and character greatness and imply the shows antagonists have a huge plan for the last 50,000 human survivors…
…and not deliver on that promise!
I think the show was engaging enough for a lot of the audience to possibly not notice there wasn’t a “plan” because the Cylons were very calculating in the first couple of seasons so it may have seemed like they had a greater goal in mind. Except there WASN’T a plan for wiping out the survivors. Or was the goal of the plan to get the “Final Five” to reveal themselves? No, it couldn’t have been that because the Cylons didn’t know the five were among the humans in the fleet until late in the series.
I’m aware of the prequel subtitled (ironically enough) “The Plan”. I haven’t seen it, I’m sorry to say, but I’ve done enough reading on it to know that there was a plan leading up to the attack the wiped out the colonies. But there’s where it stopped so far as I know.
Impromptu goals for the Cylons popped up along the way such as wanting the first human/Cylon hybrid child for experimentation. But the pursuit of the fleet did not have an intended endgame. If there had been, there likely wouldn’t have been a civil war of sorts between Cylons. The path the story would have taken probably wouldn’t have had a Cylon faction joining the fleet. The series would have built up to the grand revelation of the Cylon endgame and how most everything that had happened to that point, happened by design, and Adama and friends would have been at their lowest point realizing that they’d had exactly ZERO control over their fate up until the end. It would have been the type of revelation that would have broken the internet.
And yet there was none.
Having Starbuck’s destiny come to fruition was done very well and the slow-burn of her story arc approaches what the revelation of the “plan” could have been, and the two probably could have been woven together to create something even more epic. But the lack of said plan was probably the biggest disappointment of the entire series for me.
Is the revelation of “the plan” when one is implied important to you as a reader/viewer?
Till next time…